Friday, February 6, 2009

Champagne Til Dawn (1997 - 2009)

For those of you looking for a Champ update, I am sad to tell you that he was put to sleep today. We played with the shoeing/meds/supplements for a month, trying to make him more comfortable, but ultimately there was just too much damage. An adjustment would render him temporarily sounder and then something else would become sore and he'd be back to seriously lame.

When you rescue from the auction, you never know what you will get, but this guy had an adopter ready and willing to help him, who would have taken him as a companion-only horse if he could have become sound enough. We all agreed (adopter, vet, and farrier) to give him a chance to see if he could improve. That did not happen.

However, I still feel this was a success story. Champ would never have stayed on his feet in a double-decker. He had a lot of trouble navigating on any slippery surface, and was happiest in soft tanbark or on the grass. I have no doubt in my mind that he would have gone down and been trampled long before he made it across the border. I am not sure what happens if they unload the truck and there is a horse who is down but alive and cannot get up. I don't want to know. I'm glad Champ won't ever know.

He spent his last month at a million-dollar facility enjoying the very best of everything, from timothy hay to deep shavings that he woke up covered with every morning to homemade cookies with applesauce and brown sugar. We had beautiful weather here this week, so he got to hang out eating grass and occasionally nickering at the "girls" over the fence.

I have never found out who sent this horse to his death for $40 (I think $40 is actually the auction fee so I guess they didn't make a dime). I'm glad so many helped change his course and gave him a glorious, if brief, retirement. He was an unbelievably friendly, sweet, snuggly horse and I wish you could have all seen his personality change as he quickly realized he was safe and loved, and that the feed and the cookies were going to just keep on coming.
This is his last picture, taken on Wednesday. R.I.P. Champ - your name suited you.


Huge thanks to:

His adopter and other donors (name yourselves if you wish or I will assume you prefer privacy)

Dr. Sara Perkins, the wonderful vet who cared for him

Sandy Craig, the terrific farrier who did her best to make him comfortable

Yellow Horses, Inc. for providing a beautiful facility for him to enjoy, and their barn manager Todd, who took care of Champ as if he had Secretariat in the barn.